Research or Personal Quest? Dilemmas in Studying My Own Kind
Interactions between researcher and respondents cannot be removed from the research equation, even if one wishes to do so. The presence of such interactions can be treated as an opportunity to be exploited, and as a means to get to a better understanding of the nature of reality as constructed by the respondents and the researcher. The concept of the active observer "researching out and touching, to try ideas to see if they worked," is entirely consistent with the positivist point of view (Lincoln & Guba, 1985, p. 92). The general belief in the advantageous effect of separating investigator and object, in the positivist tradition, is based on the premise of subject-object dualism, the investigator being the subject and the entity under study being the object (Lincoln & Guba, 1985). The naturalistic researcher, however, believes that the inquirer and the object of inquiry interact to influence one another, and that the knower and known are inseparable.